#Spotlight on @HouseOfUni: Calypso Lipsticks

I used to think my lips were too big to wear bold lipstick. I stuck to neutral, nudes and lip gloss. Until my best friend grabbed my face, (I will never forget) and put M.A.C currant liner and vino on my lips. After looking in the mirror, I laughed at the silliness I had convinced myself to believe. Fast forward 15 years, I have just about every color for my skin tone by MAC.

Wicked: Black matte lippie
Wicked: Black matte lippie

Then I was introduced to House Of Uni. Formerly known as Calypso Cosmetics, the line boasts beautiful bright lipsticks and the most amazing long lasting lip laquers. Caribbean inspired colors with a “Live Out Loud” motto, the company inspires their “goddesses” to embrace their bold side. Wicked, Rumbar, Bonfire, Blackberry and Night nurse are my favorites.

Mashup of Wicked & Fountain Lust lip colors
Mashup of Wicked & Fountain Lust lip colors

What’s even more impressive is the price point. The lipsticks sell for about $9 a pop, but the bundles deals are what gets everyone. 3 for $20 or 5 for $35 keeps orders flying out the door. They sell out of colors pretty quickly and the back orders are abundant. With all this success in a little under a year, I spoke with the owner and was surprised to hear her say that she plans to keep prices low.

Thatsayannaj houseofuni
3 for 20 Bundle Deal
5 Bundle deal
5 for 35 Bundle Deal

 “There’s no way I could know what it really costs for lipstick and overcharge my customers”.
– HofU Owner Kumiko.

 

Check out the brief interview I did with House Of Uni.

Ayanna J: How do you select colors?

House of Uni: Since we are inspired by the Caribbean we choose colors that scream bold and colorful. Anything that reminds you of tropical beaches, fun in the sun and breathtaking scenery we want it! No one has ever gone to the islands and came back without anexciting story of there adventure. We want the same effect when it comes to our lipsticks.
Liquid Lacquers – House Of Uni
Ayanna J: What was the inspiration behind starting HOU?
House of Uni: With the founders being a husband and wife duo from the Caribbean. They were inspired by everything the Caribbean has to offer. From the beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery down to the rhythmic reggae and calypso music that takes over your body. Another thing the Caribbean is known for is the unity of their people. They’re full of positive vibes and consider you family regardless of where you’re from. That’s why at House of Uni we’re all about uplifting each other regardless of race or ethnic background. As the Jamaican national motto goes “Out of Many One People.”
Raging Bull – House Of Uni
Ayanna J: Looking ahead, what are you hoping to incorporate into future collections?House of Uni: We’ve been getting a lot of demands for lip liners that match our vast collection of lipsticks. We’ve also been getting a few lip gloss inquiries as well. Those will definitely be two collections we’ll be bringing to House of Uni in the future.
 
Ayanna J: Something inspiring to budding entrepreneurs.
House of Uni: Always stay true to who you are and what your brand stands for. If you don’t believe in it then you can’t expect anyone else to. For every disappointment that you receive it should be motivation to work even harder towards your goals.
Bon Fire & Starstruck Liquid Laquers
Bon Fire & Starstruck Liquid Laquers
I’m all about indie brands at this point. I’m happy to keep my lipstick fetish going by supporting this company. Get yours HERE.

xoxo,

Ayanna

 

Ayanna’s Kenyan Retreat: Wild thangs, One love.

I haven’t even been here one full week and I have fallen completely in love with Kenya, Kenyan culture, Kenyan natives and everything else Kenyan.

Kenyans are dope. They’re the nicest set of people I’ve ever met. Generally speaking, they’re very polite. I’m not sure if it’s because I was born in Jamaica or that I’ve traveled to West Africa, but I feel very comfortable and easily integrate into the lifestyle here. Most Kenyans speak English very well. Many of the signs are written in English. Communicating is seemless. Sometimes I’ll have to speak a little slower or annunciate my words to make sure I’m being understood. But in most cases, we can interact with very few hiccups.

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Buying fresh groceries at a local fruit shack.

The official Kenyan hood pass is being Jamaican. The minute I tell someone my birthplace they get excited and each person has responded with, “Welcome home.” That’s BIG. I’ve often heard from black American’s that one of their biggest reasons for not wanting to visit Africa, is because we will not be accepted. I can’t speak for the rest of the continent and there’s always one bad apple. But as a whole…

Tell’em Maury.

You hear reggae EVERYWHERE. They even have a reggae radio station  where the disc jockeys speak Patois! #AllOfMiYaadiDemBiggupUnuself #LickShot #MoreFiyah

We live in an apartment about 10 minutes outside of downtown Nairobi. There are probably 4 national parks within a 20 min drive from where we live. Kenyans do a fantastic job of balancing city life with the countries exotic wildlife. They’re very aware of the importance of preserving the animals natural habitat and have many initiatives set in place to keep them safe. I read a report where a corporation wanted to build on a reserve and the locals protested by blocking off the land and threatened to strip naked if they continued. The locals were successful, the government intervened and construction stopped.

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Kenyan initiative for endangered wildlife

So far, I’ve passed Zebras on the highway, rode a camel, was side eyed by a warthog for singing songs from the Lion King soundtrack, and was head butt by a mother giraffe for taking to long to feed her. I’M NOT LYING.

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Usie’s with a giraffe. #NoBigDeal
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Giraffe manor. A wildlife reserve for giraffe to breed before they are returned to the wild.
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Camel rides with my dad at Machakos Park! Rides cost about $2 USD. There is free entrance to the park. They serve food and drinks, play live music and have FREE Wi-Fi

If you can’t already tell, I’m really enjoying myself here and my trip has just started. Every day I’ve been blessed to uncover some hidden gem about this beautiful country. Keep checking back for more posts!

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Ayanna’s Kenyan Retreat: JAMBO means Hello.

After one of the busiest summers ever – I decided to fly half way across the world for some TLC. #HumbleBrag. Cause bruh, 5hrs or more of sleep was a luxury. And Food? Food was whatever snack I could grab from Crafty (snack bar on productions). I rarely saw my apartment and my car was a mobile closet. It was bad. (But good)

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If you follow me on social media, you may know that 2 years ago, my parents repatriated back to Africa. They always talked about it and finally decide to do it. Originally setting up camp in Ethiopia, they later moved to Nairobi, Kenya. I’m currently staying in Nairobi with them.

Traveling is awesome. Posting pictures is great. But my main goal of blogging is to give you a view of Africa that many haven’t seen. The average American knows very little about the continent outside of what the media tells them. I mean, Rick Ross tweeted it was a country for crying out loud. (Still trying to wrap my head around that one).

But…Mr. Rozay…it’s… It’s not…

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Never mind.

With this recent Ebola scare, many people have such a negative view of this place and I’m constantly asked the question “Why would your parents want to live in Africa?!”

My goal, while taking some time to relax, is to give those who may not know, a boots-on-the-ground view point on what this place can offer. If I can peak your interest or open up your mind to a different way of thinking, then this trip was well worth it.

So JAMBO! (Hello in Swahili). Welcome to my Kenyan Retreat.

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@NubianSkin Underwear. You’re the real MVP.

 

ALL OF THE CLAPS!

Someone finally had the brilliant idea to come up with ‘pannies’ for us chocolate drops!

The line will include nude bras, knickers and hosiery in both plain and lacy styles, and in a wide variety of sizes and shades to suit all shapes and skin tones. The debut collection will come in sizes from 30B to 36E, but has plans of expanding to plus-sizes in the near future.

Nikki Tucker told Clutch Magazine: “As women of colour we can all attest to how challenging it is to find natural tone lingerie.”

 

The company’s founder wrote on its blog: “My nude isn’t the nude I see in shops. Despite the reality that women of colour have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery (and spend the same of their hard-earned money), the industry simply doesn’t cater to us.

“So, I thought, it’s time to rethink the definition of nude.”

The darkest shade of the lingerie will be Berry, which the brand suggests would suit women who wear foundations such as Mac NW50, Bobbi Brown Espresso 10 and Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint in Beige 90.

Stylist tip: SISTAH’S YOU NEED THESE. You just do. I’m so ti’ed of seeing pink bras and black panties through a white shirt. You should always cover your basics with your wardrobe. A great wardrobe starts with GOOD UNDERWEAR.

Find them HERE

What are you thoughts? Ya’ll excited or nah?

 

Welcome.

You made it.

My name is Ayanna and this is my blog. Whatever brought you here, I’m happy it did.

Here’s a little about me:

I am a wardrobe stylist & costume designer (no, really)

I love to travel

I love to read

I love African fashion

I’m a mix between Eartha Kitt & Grace Jones

Lauryn Hill & Erykah Badu are my imaginary Aunties.

Beyonce is my spirit animal.

 

Now that we’ve gotten to know each other. Take a load off and enjoy what I think is cool.